Labor Day Roundup

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in Cooking, Design | Comments Off on Labor Day Roundup

Labor Day Roundup

Wow!  Labor Day weekend has come and gone.  I had a crazy busy but also super productive weekend.  But everyone is worn out, including Little Miss who went to bed as soon as we got home today at 6pm without even complaining.  The highlight of the weekend was definitely seeing John Williams at the Hollywood bowl, even though it meant staying out really late (yeah, I’m old, what of it?) and sitting in a crowd of around 18,000 of my now closest friends in the sweltering heat.   But John Williams is a genius and if I can inspire, like, 1/10000 of the people he has inspired I will be a total success in life.  Plus Julie Andrews was there and she is the absolute epitome of old hollywood grace and style.

Some other things I did over the weekend:

(Vegan MoFo’ers might want to scroll down to the banner, lots of sewing ahead)

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Made this adorable top for my daughter using the Snappy Toddler Top pattern from Pretty Prudent.  I was able to make it with 2 fat quarters by making a long band at the bottom.  Plus, no hemming.  Bonus!  I used buttons instead of snaps (because I didn’t have any cute snaps).

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(She would not let go of that plate.)  I had some trouble with the center gathering (gathering is my nemesis) but overall it went together quite easily and would look adorable with a pair of jeans or some leggings.  I’m not sure that the jeans skirt was the best styling choice, but then again I’m not 2. I would definitely make more of these, maybe in a dress length, possibly with pleats at the center front instead of gathers.

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I also had time to (finally) make myself a convertible dress, and I am obsessed.  I think I would wear this every single day if allowed, but that would just be weird, right?

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I only got around to taking pictures of it tied the one way.  Maybe I’ll do a “how-to-wear” post sometime.  I made it using a mashup of a handful of tutorials hanging out on the blogosphere, but most prominently this one by See Cate Create.  As you can see I basically (subconsciously) copied her tying technique.  It’s basically a rectangular skirt gathered onto a bandeau top with two very very long, wide straps in the front.  I made it with the bandeau because it keeps it a bit more modest.  It is surprisingly comfy.  Like sweatsuit comfy.

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The fabric is a lovely rayon-spandex jersey which has great weight and drape but is unfortunately dry clean only.  I already tried to throw it in the wash while on autopilot so it has some water spots.  The fabric is a medium to heavy weight for stretch fabric which is good because it is not too clingy or see-through but it does mean that the long skirt is very heavy and tends to pull the bandeau top down, which is fine once the straps are wrapped but makes it a bit harder to put on.  Plus, it means that the straps have a lot of bulk when gathered or twisted and when they are wrapped they can make the waistline look a little bulky, too.  I need to shorten the skirt and the bands since I’m a bit on the petite side but overall I’m happy with it.   And I love the color.

I completely plan on making more of these, probably with a shorter circle skirt next time.  I have learned that I need to make the waistband or bandeau top a lot narrower since the fabric stretches a lot, and that I would like the straps to be a bit narrower.

I did a lot of cooking this weekend.  Some of it needs a bit of tweaking before recipes get posted.  Mostly I was just too busy to get photos/recipes together.  I’m finding vegan cooking to be a bit more challenging than I expected, mostly because of baking.  Seriously, it’s crazy hard to find a good egg substitute.  We’ll talk about that later.  On the other hand I’m finding eating vegan to be pretty easy so far.

The garden is not very productive this particular moment, although the spaghetti squash promises to be ready at any moment and some yellow peppers are starting to grow.  I think there might be some tomatoes ripening, but the eggplant seem to be stagnating.  I fear that the end of the season will occur sometime during this month and I might be regretting this theme.  The “home-grown” part might just be limited to a bunch of herbs.  Yikes.  At least I promise to bring you lots of healthy food starring fresh fruits and veggies, even if they are from the CSA box.

Today I will leave you with a quick limeade recipe that I made up for our friends’ lime-themed labor day barbecue.  I am in love with making sweetened drinks a bit unexpected by using herbal simple syrups.  I love using simple syrups to sweeten beverages, because it is way easier than trying to dissolve sugar in a cold beverage, plus they can be infused with herbs, fruits, even chili peppers.  This limeade is sweetened with a rosemary-infused syrup.  It’s sweet and tangy and a bit grown-up.  I enjoyed it mixed with sparkling water and I think it would make a great cocktail with seltzer and vodka.  Enjoy!

Rosemary Limeade
 
Limeade grows up with rosemary simple syrup.
Ingredients
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1.5 c lime juice
  • 4 to 5 c water (divided)
  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary
Instructions
  1. Mix sugar with 1 cup of the water in a small pot. Add rosemary. Heat to boiling while stirring to dissolve sugar. Once it boils, remove from heat and allow to cool with the rosemary still in it. Strain the rosemary out.
  2. Add the simple syrup to the lime juice and add another 3 cups of water. Taste. Add more water if desired. If you plan on icing it remember that it will dilute from melting ice, so you might want to make it a bit strong.